United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF JESSIE STEELE, INC.'S
ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION FOR LEAVE TO TAKE LIMITED EXPEDITED
DISCOVERY RE: DKT. NO. 20
M. RYU JUDGE.
Jessie Steele, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) moves the court
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(d) for leave
to take discovery prior to the Rule 26 conference. Plaintiff
seeks information to support its request for damages as part
of a motion for default judgment it intends to file against
Defendant Linda Ann Henderson (“Defendant”).
[Docket No. 20]. Specifically, Plaintiff requests permission
to issue early subpoenas to PayPal, Inc.
(“PayPal”) and Amazon, Inc.
(“Amazon”) to obtain information and documents
regarding Defendant's sales of Plaintiff's
trademarked and copyrighted products to consumers on Amazon
and e-Bay.com (“eBay”). On July 28, 2017, the
Honorable Richard Seeborg referred this motion to the
undersigned for resolution. [Docket No. 21]. This matter is
appropriate for determination without oral argument.
See Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). For the reasons contained
herein, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
is a global distributor of aprons, garments, bags, totes,
stationary, accessories, kitchenware, and kitchen textiles.
Compl., ¶ 11 [Docket No. 1]. Plaintiff sells its product
under the registered trademarks JESSIE STEELE®, CANDY
BAKER®, FEARLESSLY FEMININE®, and BRING HAPPY
HOME®. Id., ¶¶ 14(a) through (f).
Plaintiff also has numerous registered copyrights for the
pattern and designs featured on its products. Id.,
¶ 15. Specifically, Plaintiff has registered copyrights
on the following designs: Pink Cottage Rose; Green/White
Damask; Easter Egg Ribbon; Paris Boutique; Parisian Toile;
Vintage Kitchen; Blue Cherry Cupcakes; Cupcake Placement
Print; Kitchen Cherry Placement Print; Anchors; Kitchen
Cherry; and Navy French Toile. Compl., ¶ 15.
imports counterfeit JESSIE STEELE®, FEARLESSLY
FEMININE®, and BRING HAPPY HOME® products from China
into the United States and resells these counterfeit products
in the United States. Id., ¶ 18. Defendant has
registered accounts on eBay and Amazon through which she
advertises and sells the counterfeit products using
Plaintiff's registered trademarks and registered
copyrighted materials. Id., ¶¶ 20-21.
Defendant facilitates the processing of payments received for
the counterfeit products through eBay via PayPal's
payment processing services. Id., ¶ 20.
alleges that Defendant sold at least three counterfeit JESSIE
STEELE® aprons on eBay and Amazon. Id.,
¶¶ 22-25. On November 29, 2016, Plaintiff
authorized the purchase of a “Jessie Steele Floral
Courtney Cherry Kitchen Apron - Women's Mother/Daughter,
” as advertised for sale by Defendant on eBay under the
eBay seller ID “lindaannsvariete” for $19.99.
Id., ¶ 23. On December 20, 2016, Plaintiff
authorized the purchase of a “Jessie Steele Café
Josephine Toile Retro Kitchen Apron, ” as advertised
for sale by Defendant on eBay under the
“lindaannsvariete” eBay seller ID for $20.99.
Id., ¶ 24; Vener Decl., ¶ 2 [Docket No.
20-1]; PayPal transaction receipt for December 20, 2016 eBay
sale (Ex. A to Vener Decl.) [Docket No. 20-2]. On December
27, 2016, Plaintiff authorized the purchase of a
“Jessie Steele Parisian Toile Bib Josephine Apron,
” as advertised for sale by Defendant on Amazon.com
under the Amazon seller ID “Linda Anne's
Variete” for $23.99. Compl., ¶ 22; Vener Decl.,
¶ 3; Amazon transaction receipt for December 27, 2016
Amazon sale (Ex. B to Vener Decl.) [Docket No. 20-3]. Upon
inspection, all three aprons purchased and received from
Defendant under the “lindaannsvariete” eBay
seller ID and “Linda Anne's Variete” Amazon
seller ID were counterfeit. Compl., ¶ 25.
April 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action against
Defendant, alleging violations of the Latham Act, the
Copyright Act, and California Business & Professions Code
§ 17200. Compl. On April 29, 2017, Plaintiff served
Defendant with the summons and complaint. See Proof
of Service of Summons [Docket No. 15]; Vener Decl., ¶ 5.
Defendant did not file a responsive pleading by the
applicable deadline. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(a)(1)(A)(i) (a defendant must serve an answer or
responsive pleading within 21 days of service of the summons
and complaint). On June 28, 2017, pursuant to Plaintiff's
request, the Clerk entered default against Defendant.
See Mot. for Entry of Default [Docket No. 16];
Clerk's Entry of Default [Docket No. 17].
thereafter filed the instant motion for early discovery
seeking documents from PayPal and Amazon regarding
Defendant's sales of JESSIE STEELE®, FEARLESSLY
FEMININE®, and BRING HAPPY HOME® products under her
“lindaannsvariete” eBay seller ID and her Amazon
“Linda Anne's Variete” seller Id.
Plaintiff also requests the same information for other
accounts held by Defendant or Defendant's aliases that
are presently unknown to Plaintiff. Plaintiff contends that
expedited discovery is necessary because it has been unable
to hold the Rule 26(f) conference and initiate discovery as
Defendant has failed to appear. Plaintiff asserts that the
only way that it can obtain discovery regarding damages to
support its motion for default judgment is through issuance
of subpoenas to eBay and Amazon.
a party may not initiate discovery before the parties have
met and conferred pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
26(f). However, a court may authorize earlier discovery
“for the parties' and witnesses' convenience
and in the interests of justice.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(d)(3). The plaintiff must demonstrate good cause for early
discovery. See Semitool, Inc. v. Tokyo Electron Am.,
Inc., 208 F.R.D. 273, 276 (N.D. Cal. 2002). “Good
cause may be found where the need for expedited discovery, in
consideration of the administration of justice, outweighs the
prejudice to the responding party.” Semitool,
208 F.R.D. at 276. Courts have applied the “good
cause” standard to requests for early discovery where a
defendant is in default. See e.g., Texas Guaranteed
Student Loan Corp. v. Dhindsa, No.
1:10-CV-00335-LJO-SKO, 2010 WL 2353520, at *2 (E.D. Cal. June
9, 2010) (granting request for early discovery of the
defendant, where the defendant was in default); Antoine
v. Boutte, No. CV 15-561-JWD-EWD, 2016 WL 6138252, at
*3-4 (M.D. La. Oct. 20, 2016) (granting request for early
discovery of third-parties for damages information relevant
to a motion for default judgment).
considered the motion as well as the record in this case, the
court finds that Plaintiff has established good cause to
engage in limited early discovery directed to PayPal and
Amazon to obtain information regarding Defendant's sales
of counterfeit JESSIE STEELE®, FEARLESSLY FEMININE®,
and BRING HAPPY HOME® products. By failing to appear,
Defendant effectively has prevented Plaintiff from conducting
a Rule 26(f) conference and initiating discovery. Plaintiff
therefore has no option for obtaining damages information
other than to issue subpoenas to PayPal and Amazon for
Defendant's sales information. Permitting early discovery
would move the case forward, as Plaintiff's only
remaining course of action is to seek a default judgment.
Semitool, 208 F.R.D. at 277 (permitting early
discovery in a patent infringement case where it would
“substantially contribute to moving the case
Plaintiff's proposed discovery appears to be narrowly
tailored and limited to the issue of damages. According to
Plaintiff, the proposed subpoenas seek registration and
contact information for Defendant's eBay and PayPay IDs
(“lindaannsvariete, ” “lindaann253@hotmail,
” and “firstname.lastname@example.org”) and
Defendant's Amazon seller ID (“Linda Anne's
Variete”), and information and documents relating to
Defendant's sales of JESSIE STEELE®, FEARLESSLY
FEMININE®, and BRING HAPPY HOME® products including
quantity, type, date of sale, price at sale, and costs
associated with each sales transaction. See Proposed
Order at 2 [Docket No. 20-4]. The proposed subpoenas also
request that PayPal and Amazon produce the aforementioned
information and documents for other accounts held by
Defendant or Defendant's aliases which are presently
unknown to Plaintiff. Id.
extent that eBay or Amazon believes that the subpoenas are
objectionable, they may move to quash the subpoenas pursuant
to Rule 45. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(d)(3)(A)(iv)
(“On timely motion, the court for the district where
compliance is required must quash or modify a subpoena that .
. . subjects a person to undue burden.”).
light of the foregoing and in consideration of the
administration of justice, the court finds that Plaintiff has
established good cause ...